Standstill - Activist art from the Marinko Sudac Collection
"Seagull" ship, Rijeka, Croatia
04. July 2011 - 18. July 2011

curator: Branko Franceshi

The history of Navy Ship Galeb (Seagull) is a fascinating story of the 20th century, of its belief in the power and beauty of the machine and industry, of heroism of the ship’s crews regardless of the flags they sailed under and the countries they fought for, of ideologies that took turns in one and the same physical framework, of a warship turned into a peace ship, of a vision of an alternative world order, of the continuous cycle of new beginnings, of the glamour of socialism, of the leader. “Standstill” is an exhibition that deals with the deconstruction of the untouchable, of the mythical ship Galeb whose decks and salons along with Marshal Tito and the elite of socialist state and military government are inhabited by ghosts of world statesmen from Winston Churchill, Paul of Greece, Elizabeth II, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Jawaharlal Nehru, Ahmed Sukarno, General Abboud, Kwame Nkrumah, Albert Tabnen, Habib Bourguiba, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, U Nu, Ne Win, Modibo Keita, Seku Ture, Archbishop Makarios, Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi, Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev, Kurt Josef Waldheim, Nicolae Ceausescu, Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi and many, many others to scientists and artists as well as international movie stars such as Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Sofia Loren and Kirk Douglas.

Regardless of the spectacular presentations, professional recognition, public success and media coverage that earlier museum exhibitions of the Marinko Sudac Collection achieved, the collection’s curatorial team always believed that a certain ambiguous feeling arose from the clash of radical, loud and vivid art works with static and sterile museum galleries. Therefore, the curatorial team responsible for the mode of presentation of the Marinko Sudac Collection, searched from the outset for a suitable site that might host its atypical and effective display. Motivated by this idea, the curatorial team designated the former Yugoslav Navy School Ship Seagull, which earned notoriety as Marshall Tito’s yacht, as its exhibition site. The strongest component of the Marinko Sudac Collection is activist art created from 1909 till 1989, that has challenged both totalitarian systems in which the Navy Ship Seagull passed her lifetime. The combination of a site that symbolizes the totalitarianisms of the XX century with the art censored during the same periods is destined to create an explosive combination and tense dialogue, clearly intriguing to the media and the public.

The Navy School Ship Seagull symbolized the highest aspirations of socialist Yugoslavia under Tito, to achieve status as an essential and independent factor in international politics. In 1953, Tito, aboard the Seagull, was the first socialist head of state to travel to United Kingdom where he was received by the Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Duke of Edinburgh. In the 1960s, the Seagull was the maritime site on which the statesmen Tito, Nehru and Naser defined the concept of the Non-Aligned Movement. The Seagull also epitomized the comfortable lifestyle Tito enjoyed, an everyday political manipulation symbolizing for Yugoslav citizens the culmination of general prosperity created by Yugoslavia’s socialist government and its specific self-management system. Twenty years after the break-up of Yugoslavia, the Municipality of Rijeka decided to acquire the neglected and devastated Seagull. This decision met with conflicting reactions in the community despite the instantly obvious potential to convert the ship into an attractive, multifaceted museum. She was launched as a utilitarian craft in 1938 in one totalitarian system, and ended her active life as symbolic vessel in 1989 in another totalitarian system.

List of participants: Belgrade’s Surrealism, Slavko Bogdanović, André Breton, Boris Bućan, Bruce Conner, Attila Cszernik, Radomir Damnjanović Damnjan, Boris Demur, Braco Dimitrijević, Nena Dimitrijević, Exat 51, Family of Šempas, Attalai Gábor, Ivo Gattin, Gorgona, Tomislav Gotovac, Vladimir Gudac, Matjaž Hanžek, Željko Hegedušić, Radovan Ivšić, Japanese book cover design from the 20’s, Željko Jerman, Szijártó Kálmán, Kismányoki Károly, Halász Károly, Željko Kipke, Jarosław Kozłowski, Kugla Theater, Vlado Martek, Dimitrije Bašičević Mangelos, Slavko Matković, Ljubomir Micić, Marijan Molnar, Andrzej Lachowicz, Natalia Lah Lachowicz, Katalin Ladik, OHO, Red Peristyle, Sandor Pinczehelyi, Čedomil Plavšić, Marko Ristić, Miho Schön, Đuro Seder, Josip Seissel, Rudolf Sikora, Zdisław Sosnovski, Aleksandar Srnec, Mladen Stilinović, Sven Stilinović, Josip Stošić, Balint Szombathy, Tomaž Šalamun, Karel Taige, Ivana Tomljenović Meller, Desider Tóth, Traveleri, Josip Vaništa, Jiří Valoch, Gorki Žuvela, periodicals Bit International, Devĕtsil, LEF, MA, La Testa di Ferro, Zenit, original prints of Futurist Manifestos, films by Marjan Ciglič, Naško Križnar, Mihovil Pansini and Vladimir Petek - overall 200 artworks from all art disciplines and media, archive materials and video interviews with artists: Braco Dimitrijević, Jarosław Kozłowski, Vlado Martek, Marko Pogačnik, Rudolf Sikora, Tomaž Šalamun and Josip Vaništa. Exhibition also presents documentary materials on the history of the Seagull.

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